‘The Story of a Town and Its Choir’: Read Our Q&A with Bestselling Author Sophie Green

‘The Story of a Town and Its Choir’: Read Our Q&A with Bestselling Author Sophie Green

Briefly tell us about your book.

It’s the story of a town and its choir, and especially of five women who are members of that choir: Victoria, the town matriarch, who has recently had a shock because her husband has left her for the mayor’s wife; Gabrielle, her opera-singer cousin who is trying to readjust to life in the town she left long ago; Alex, a high-school maths teacher from Sydney who thinks living in Bellbird River will help her reconnect with her 11-year-old daughter; Debbie, who has made some mistakes that have changed her life forever, and not in a way she likes; and Janine, who spends the present trying to grapple with the past and meanwhile keeps the town in baked goods. The choir is where they gather each week but they all have their own connections with other people.

What inspired the idea behind the book?

Bellbird River is a fictional town that lies down the road from Tamworth, New South Wales. Several years ago I was in a covers band that played at the Tamworth Country Music Festival – although I was a snob about country music. That lasted about five seconds once we arrived in town. The festival was the best thing I’d ever been to, and every year I’ve been since – including this year – it becomes more joyous and more enriching, especially so because I have been writing about Australian country music for over a decade. Once I had an idea for a novel with music in it – a choir, as it turned out – the only place to set it was near Tamworth. Being in the band, playing instruments and singing as I still do, and knowing as much as I do about Australian country music, all put the fabric into this story. Plus I was in choirs throughout primary and secondary school.

What is something that has influenced you as a writer?

I have learnt a lot from the Australian country music artists I’ve been able to interview and write about over the past few years. They are dedicated to storytelling and also to their audiences; they want to communicate and they also want to entertain and bring joy to people while providing something that is of meaning – their songs. More than anything else, I think those things have influenced me in my own job as a storyteller. I’d like my stories to be meaningful and also entertaining.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Just start. Whatever you write is not going to be perfect, because here’s the thing: it never is. But if you don’t start you won’t know what your idea could become – and you won’t know what you could become.

What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?

I don’t have a routine. I fit in writing where and when I can around other commitments, which include full-time work. But it helps that I don’t believe in there being a right amount of time or a right place to work – I grab the time I can and I sit (sometimes stand) wherever I can. Whatever I’m working on is always in the back of my mind so I just switch into it once I have that opportunity to write. And what I’m working on now is next year’s novel, set on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. That’s all I can say for now!

Buy a copy of The Bellbird River Country Choir here.

Reviews

Heartwarming Drama: Read an Extract from The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

Review | Extract

4 August 2022

Heartwarming Drama: Read an Extract from The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

    Charming and Nostalgic: Read Our Review of The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

    Review | Our Review

    1 August 2022

    Charming and Nostalgic: Read Our Review of The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

      Your Preview Verdict: The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

      Review | Preview

      25 July 2022

      Your Preview Verdict: The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

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                          Publisher details

                          The Bellbird River Country Choir
                          Author
                          Sophie Green
                          Publisher
                          Hachette
                          Genre
                          Fiction
                          Released
                          27 July, 2022
                          ISBN
                          9780733647710

                          Synopsis

                          Bellbird River, 1998: Teacher and single mum Alex is newly arrived in the small NSW country town of Bellbird River after escaping the city in search of a change of pace and the chance to reconnect with her young daughter. Across town, well-known matriarch Victoria and her globe-trotting, opera-singing cousin Gabrielle find themselves at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives, while local baker Janine and newcomer to the district Debbie are each secretly dealing with the consequences of painful pasts. With its dusty streets, lone pub and iron-lace verandahs, Bellbird River could just be a pit stop on the road to somewhere else. But their town holds some secrets and surprises - and it has a heart: the Bellbird River choir.

                          Amid the melodies and camaraderie of the choir, each of the women will find the courage to leave the past behind. And together, they'll discover that friends are much closer to home than they'd ever realised.

                          Sophie Green
                          About the author

                          Sophie Green

                          Sophie Green is an author and publisher who lives in Sydney. She has written several fiction and non-fiction books, some under other names. In her spare time she writes about country music on her blog, Jolene. She fell in love with the Northern Territory the first time she visited and subsequent visits inspired the story in The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.

                          Books by Sophie Green

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